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Monthly Archives: March 2008

Blam

We humans are almost incapable of visualizing big numbers. When we think of big numbers we think of a thousand, a million, but when we get to numbers in the high millions it starts to get hazy. Think about the number 100 ^100. Thats one hundred multiplied by itself 100 times. It is impossible to visualize a number of this immense size. This number is called a googolplex and it is theorized there is only about 10 to the power of 80 atoms in the whole universe, so now you can see how large this number actually is without actually comprehending it. ITS FREAKING LARGE.

Anyway, I am actually getting to something here. Lets think of a number that is much much smaller than a googol or a googolplex. That number is 1 trillion. OK, A trillion is still not a small number, in fact, its a very large number. A trillion is one thousand billion. ONE THOUSAND…BILLION. A billion… times… ONE THOUSAND. Yes, I know, so what? you ask. Well let me give you an idea of how big a trillion is. You haven’t lived for one trillion seconds, neither has your family, or western civilization. A trillion seconds ago, 31,688 years ago, humans were accompanied on Earth by Neanderthals. I hope this puts that number into perspective for you because America ALONE has spent 3 trillion dollars on the war in Iraq so far. Ummmmmmmm, WHAT!? The rest of the world, Britain included, have spent about the same all up. So thats a cool 6 thousand billion dollars spent on the war.

Now, I want you to sit back, and think about this much money.

Go read this and also read about this guy.

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coffee

Most charities, religious or not, do a fair amount of good work on the planet Earth. But sometimes the inner workings of charities and organisations go awry or completely barking mad. You see, Mercy Ministries, an evangelical christian group, have been doing their “best” to help poor women who suffer from mental health problems. The ministry works in conjunction with another well known christian group called Hillsong Church as well as coffee chain Gloria Jean’s. On the Mercy Ministry website they claim to be

“providing homes and care for young women suffering the effects of eating disorders, self harm, abuse, depression, unplanned pregnancies and other life controlling issues.”

A noble pursuit one would say, that is until you remember that these people believe in a literal heaven and hell, demons and angels and are probably the last people you should go to to help with mental health issues, let alone unplanned pregnancies. You see, three young women who broke away from the group have claimed that Mercy Ministries have been blaming their problems on “demonic possession” and even performed exorcisms that allegedly left the young women suicidal. Of course, Mercy Ministries have been quick to combat these claims in a letter that can be found on their website, here. Notice that none of the claims have actually been addressed in the letter which is written in a very loose manner and seems to dodge the main issue, that the organisation performs exorcisms.

This is another great example of religious-based “healing” having an ill effect rather than a positive one. What is the point of going to a form of “healing” that is considered alternative when you can take advantage of a science-based treatment that is demonstrably effective? Remember that there is medicine and then there is the rest, the alternative really isn’t an alternative. So next time a person walks towards you in a time of hardship with a Gloria Jean’s coffee in one hand and a cross in the other, punch them in the face*.

For further reading check out these links:-

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/03/17/2191256.htm

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/03/16/1205602228832.html

http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/they-prayed-to-cast-satan-from-my-body/2008/03/16/1205602228826.html

http://www.mercyministries.com.au

http://www2.hillsong.com/pages/default.asp?pid=170

P.s. Now for something completely different (kind of). Check out this site (link sent in by Leopold). It’s by a guy named TED! who claims he is the second coming of Jesus or some crap. Anyway, I got over it in the first couple of sentences and you will see why when you check it out. Give it a read and see if you can get further than me!

* (Disclaimer: Do not punch people in the face. It hurts them and you might go to gaol where worse things will happen to parts of you that you don’t want them to happen to. 🙂 )

CS

Well, we have another step back on the censorship front for our great nation of Australia. The Attorney General of South Australia Michael Atkinson, is working hard to make sure there is no R-18 rating for video games in Australia! HURRAY!

His reason for this is, of course, to protect “our children from harmful material!”. Oh, perfect. Not only is this an blatant appeal to emotion it’s an obvious ploy to get parents on his side. I mean, who doesn’t want to protect our children from harmful material! A child’s parent will see this statement and, possibly out of ignorance of the gaming world, agree with the Attorney General.

Of course the Hon. Michael Atkinson is a devout christian who’s main interests were stated as “christian values”. Sigh. Here we go with the theists trying to impart their prudish beliefs on the masses yet again. Not only is this man obviously spouting an agenda he also doesn’t bother to do any research! He is quoted as saying,

“Games may pose a far greater problem than other media – particularly films – because their interactive nature could exacerbate their impact,”

“The risk of interactivity on players of computer games with highly violent content is increased aggressive behaviour.”

I would love to see the studies that come to this conclusion. So far to my knowledge, and Ron Curry’s, CEO of the games industry body, there has been no studies with definitive results pointing to this. Even if a study were to arise with a definite result indicating violent tendencies developing from violent games (there has been some studies that point to it) , video games still shouldn’t be censored! Throughout the ages media has instilled violence, even books have done that. Take the Bible and the Koran for example, lets ban those instead.

This being said, I’m all for keeping young or unstable children away from hard core violent or topically extreme games, but isn’t this a job for the parents? Just like with film, video and the internet, the censorship is up to the parent! It isn’t up to our government (or the religious) to protect children, it’s up to the parents to police what their kids are looking at. There is a reason for having these damn ratings in the first place!

In my opinion, keeping up with the rest of the world is something we should definitely be trying to do. So far Australia is the only developed country without an adults only rating. Sometimes it’s important to portray a topic in a certain way, and it’s not always daisies and bunny rabbits. Sometimes we have to show the shittiness of something. Video games are an art form (well, some of them are.) and censoring a whole art form and industry is not on.

(Update: It also seems that the majority of gamers are above the age of minors anyway…Well above! See here or here for a pdf. To me this seems to point towards the Attorney General not actually wanting to protect our children, but to stop older people from playing violent games. An R-18 rating would protect our children more so than not having one, but by banning an adults only rating it will stop mature age video game players from accessing extreme content video games.)

Now I know this isn’t my usual sort of post but I feel so passionately about this that I had to blog about it. Please, for the love of Zeus, DO NOT…SEE…MEET THE SPARTANS! Please. I beg you. I was foolish enough to go see this atrocity because a friend said it was funny. It’s not, not even one joke. Usually, I will laugh at stupid, random humour, but this movie fails even at the most stupid gags. It’s not even funny in that “Oh that is SO not funny” lame way. You will cringe if you see this film.

Not only is it not funny, it’s fairly homophobic and racist. Almost every scene has a line saying someone is gay, or someone saying “fo shizzle” or having a break dance battle. They even go as far as to have a “skit” of the Spartans vs an African American “Yo Mumma” joke team. I won’t go into the story to much because it’s really not worth it, nor is it worth explaining anymore of the jokes. All I will say is that the makers of Meet the Spartans believe it is funny to completely remake whole scenes from 300 and not even add a joke into it, to blatantly insult African Americans and to directly make fun of gay people.

If you’re thinking, “Gee, I really liked Scary Movie. I might like Meet the Spartans.” NO! You won’t! Do not risk the embarrassment of being spotted seeing this film and do not give anymore money to these “film makers”. They deserve a kick in the teeth for this HORRIBLE movie! Never before have I walked out of a movie until I saw Meet the Spartans.

Usually I wouldn’t say this, but please, take my word for it, DO NOT SEE THIS FILM!

Skelliot.
p.s This obviously isn’t a skeptical post, but it is my duty as a human being to alert the unwitting about this film. It is your duty also, to heed my warning and never ever ever hand over money and see this film…ever. Ever! OK, I’m done.